Getting rid of Section 21 notices…
This discussion has been coming for a long long time.
It was part of the consultation process around 3 years tenancies. It’s been a hot topic every time I’ve spoken to someone at the Ministry of Housing. The Guardian are touting section 21 notices as the reason that there were a reported 16,320 homeless cases in the UK in 2017.
Now, it looks as if the Government (once Brexit is done and dusted) will be looking at scrapping this notice.
I’ve been asking myself the question ‘do I agree’…
Well, on one hand, Section 21’s don’t seem to be that effective. Every single time I’ve had to serve one the tenant has gone to citizens advice, been told to stay and wait for the court date. Inevitably I apply to court, go to court, get an eviction order and then have to pay for the bailiff…. Or the tenant has said they would leave if they were paid £x.
Admittedly, I’ve only had to do it 3 times throughout my career of managing hundreds of tenants. But it’s costly… and that cost will depend on whether you are representing yourself or get legal advice.
One very sad time, I went through the process for a client. I worked with their solicitor. Turned up at court and the tenant seemed completely out of his depth. Our solicitor went over and talked to the tenant and gave some off the record advice about his options… here’s some services that will help you because you can’t pay our rent (please note we’d kept the rent at £205 per month in Earls Court to try and help… rather than market rent at £750 pcm).
However, when section 21 notices work and the tenant leaves after 2 months, that’s brilliant. Most tenants, seem to be OK with it. For example, if the Landlord has to move back in.
It’s the problem tenants who are often not OK with it and make the process horrifically difficult.
Landlords’ rights to serve section 21 notices fall away if they don’t serve the prescribed information or hold the deposit correctly, or if the tenant has reported them to environment health… or now if the tenant starts trying to sue the landlord because the home isn’t fit for human habitation.
But on the other hand, we’ve always got the trusted Section 8 notice. Yes, it means that we definitely have to go to court and that the court may not necessarily be favourable to the landlord.
However, if it’s anticipated that court is inevitable, there is no difference. The only change is that we need to make sure we are serving notice on one of the 17 grounds of possession:
Mandatory grounds where the Court must grant Possession
Ground 1: The Landlord requires possession as he used to occupy the property as his main home or he now wishes to occupy the property as his main home.
Ground 2: The property is subject to a mortgage and the mortgagee is now entitled to exercise a power of sale.
Ground 3:The tenancy is a fixed term of not more than 8 months and the property was previously a holiday let.
Ground 4: The tenancy is a fixed term of not more than 12 months and the property is student accommodation let out of term.
Ground 5: The property is that of a minister of religion.
Ground 6: The property requires redevelopment.
Ground 7: The tenant has died.
Ground 8: The tenant is in rental arrears.
Discretionary grounds where the Court may grant possession:
Ground 9: Suitable alternative accommodation is available for the tenant upon possession.
Ground 10: The tenant is in arrears of rent.
Ground 11: The tenant has persistently delayed paying rent, whether or not the rent is currently in arrears.
Ground 12: Any obligation of the tenancy has been broken, other than payment of rent.
Ground 13: Due to the tenant’s conduct, the property has deteriorated.
Ground 14: The tenant is causing a nuisance or annoyance to people residing at the property or visiting the property. The tenant is convicted in engaging in illegal or using the property for immoral purposes.
Ground 15: The tenant has allowed the landlords’ furniture to deteriorate due to ill-treatment.
Ground 16: The tenant occupies the property due to his former employment by the landlord.
Ground 17: The Landlord granted the tenancy as a result of a statement made by the tenant which is later found to be false.
Just remember! Section 8 notices MUST BE served in the prescribed form, so you will need to ask your solicitor for guidance.
How do you feel about this? Do you think it will happen? Does it worry you?